Call it Modi effect or the growing popularity of the social media. Haryana’s new chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has logged on to Twitter, an online social networking site, to communicate his governance mantras to supporters, bureaucrats and journalists.
Khattar, who changed his official twitter handle from @bjpmlal to @mlkhattar last week, has become more active on the social media from the time he was chosen leader of the BJP legislature group by the newly-elected MLAs on October 21. His first tweet on the day was: “Our government shall be transparent, without any area based discrimination & corruption free. We will take #Haryana to new heights.”
The one-time RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) pracharak, like his mentor Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most ministers in the union cabinet, is twittering his governance fundas since. This week, he has sent about a dozen tweets on inclusive development, public interest in policies and decisions, his predecessor’s appointments, bureaucrats’ conduct and the new government’s Swachh Haryana campaign.
The number of his followers has also trebled to more than 26,000 in the past week, with his supporters, officials and the media also clicking the “follow” button on Twitter after his ascent to the CM’s position. While he joined Twitter in May 2011, Khattar was not very prolific initially and tweeted and re-tweeted about the party’s poll rallies, his public meetings and Modi’s programme.
Similarly, most of his cabinet colleagues are also on social media sites for some time. Unlike him, they mostly post their pictures and newspaper clippings. However, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Tanwar has been quick to the cross the cyber swords with the chief minister. The former MP, who has 8,000 followers roughly, has taken on Khattar on Twitter in the past 48 hours, questioning his decisions to review the appointments and announcements made by the previous Congress regime, speculation about plans to induct IAS officers from Gujarat etc.
Khattar has not responded, so far. If his party colleagues are to be believed, he is unlikely to engage in a tweet war with rivals, but will strengthen his presence on social media. His predecessor, who ruled the state for nine-and-a-half years, had joined Twitter just days before the state assembly polls.